December 2009 Blog Home February 2010


19 posts from January 2010


January 29, 2010

Help Over the Long Haul for Haiti

The HSUS’s primary mission has always been to help animals, but the value system that undergirds our work is more expansive. For us, those core values are responsibility, other-centeredness, and mercy, especially when it comes to the weak or vulnerable or less fortunate. Like every other person of conscience, we at The HSUS are heartsick about the human tragedy in Haiti. With several hundred thousand believed dead, and an estimated 3 million people left homeless, the Haitian earthquake crisis is only matched in impact, in recent memory, by the Indonesian tsunami. The world community has responded with remarkable charity, but despite those efforts, the situation remains desperate for the wounded and the needy.

Humane Society International responder Lloyd Brown holds a dog in Haiti
HSI
Responder Lloyd Brown holds a dog in Haiti.

In charting a course for helping animals in the midst of a crisis of this magnitude, we’ve been sensitive to the larger dynamic, but diligent in fulfilling our primary mission, especially knowing that so many others are focused on the human tragedy. Our trained responders found a pathway into Haiti as quickly as they could and fed the hungry and provided care to the distressed. We forged close working partnerships with local organizations attuned to the political, social, and practical realities of the situation. We mobilized veterinary response personnel, and created an internal working group at headquarters to support our work on the ground. We dispatched staff member Kelly Coladarci to the Dominican Republic to purchase equipment and supplies, and to clear the hurdles to getting them where we could put them into use.

Today, Dr. Rebecca Berg, who served the Humane Society International/Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association first phase response with great distinction, passes the baton to Dave Pauli, an able colleague who has participated in virtually every major disaster response deployment to help animals undertaken in the last two decades. Dave will lead the next stage of our work, extending our alliances with the Haiti-based Christian Veterinary Mission and the Dominican Republic-based Veterinary Care and Human Services, and exploring every useful avenue for cooperation with relief agencies, the government of Haiti, and the representatives of other nations responding to Haiti’s dire needs.

We have a unique capacity to be of assistance, because we have been training animal control officers, veterinary technicians, veterinarians, and others in humane capture and handling, vaccination, spaying and neutering, and related work for decades. Through HSI and HSVMA, we have been directly working to resolve animal overpopulation in less developed countries through our field services work and spaying and neutering clinics.

In Haiti, the Christian Veterinary Mission, working together with the Ministry of Agriculture, had been making real progress, with respect to large-scale vaccination of the island nation’s stray dog populations (including so-called “community dogs” who are localized and known by residents in discrete neighborhoods) and other animal health and welfare concerns. Many of Haiti’s animals—dogs, cats, working equines, and farm animals—having escaped the earthquake’s strike with their lives, now face a more serious challenge of surviving even as the human residents struggle to secure their most basic needs. With our local partners, and our colleagues in the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti, we will continue to address short-term threats and to lay the foundation for a better future for Haiti’s animals.

One small bright spot on the Haiti front today is the arrival in Miami this afternoon of Dieter and Bella, two Katrina dogs who survived the earthquake but were forced to remain behind when their family had to evacuate. The two dogs will rejoin their excited family members this evening, and there’s no stronger example of our work to restore the human-animal bond. My thanks to HSI’s Kelly O’Meara, Arthur Benjamin of American Dog Rescue, and countless others who worked hard for this reunion to occur. The distressed family called The HSUS for help, and we were there to swing into action and reunite them with their beloved pets—as we are there for so many other animals.

January 28, 2010

Learning Not to Fight: Boy and Pit Bull Top of the Class

End Dogfighting anti-dogfighting advocate Sean Moore and Pit Bull Training Team student Terrence Murphy
The HSUS
Anti-dogfighting advocate Sean Moore (back
right) has mentored Terrence Murphy (center).

In a Chicago neighborhood racked with too much violence, a 12-year-old boy is about to engage to fight his pit bull in a dogfight. They’re tucked away in an alley, with police nowhere in sight. In the right place at the right time, however, is Sean Moore. He’s an anti-dogfighting advocate with The HSUS's End Dogfighting in Chicago program. He gets wind of the fight and talks to the kids. A reformed dogfighter himself who knows the streets, Sean says there’s a better way. Don’t fight the dogs, he counsels. Join the Pit Bull Training Team.

Fast forward to today and this boy and dog first spotted in the alley—Terrence Murphy and Elmo—have just graduated from our Pit Bull Training Team classes and earned a Canine Good Citizen® certificate. Star students, the video of this pair celebrating their successes is something you'll want to see.

Transformations like this, turning youth away from the violence of dogfighting and offering them positive alternatives, are key to stopping the epidemic of street dogfighting in urban areas across America. That’s the goal of our End Dogfighting programs in Chicago and Atlanta and, coming soon, in Philadelphia. A similar program has just started in Milwaukee. These programs are working person to person, and, with time and with your support, we hope to expand them even further.

January 27, 2010

Dairy Industry: Got Ethics?

Last night, ABC News reported on the results of an investigation by Mercy for Animals (MFA) into inhumane practices within the dairy industry. Chief investigative reporter Brian Ross and producer Anna Schecter presented a hard-hitting indictment of standard industry practices, such as lifelong confinement and tail docking and dehorning without anesthetic. HSUS California senior state director Jennifer Fearing spoke up for the interests of the cows and made points that the dairy industry representatives had an impossible time refuting. In fact, the industry’s responses were callous and hollow, even after they saw unmistakable footage of abuse.

Black and white calf
iStockphoto

The ABC report showed video footage, recorded by MFA, of tail docking that would make anyone concerned about the well-being of animals cringe. Perplexingly, the dairy industry defended this practice despite the fact that even the industry-friendly American Veterinary Medical Association rightfully opposes it. And the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, with many of its members employed by the dairy industry, acknowledges that the procedure is unnecessary and painful. But, remarkably, the group does not support state or federal legislation to do away with the cruel practice. I’ve personally asked them to get involved and stop this practice, but they’ve refused.

A few livestock industry groups, including the California Cattlemen’s Association and the California Farm Bureau, supported HSUS-sponsored legislation, introduced by California Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter), to ban this practice. The dairy industry was at the table in California, worked with us on the bill's language, and ultimately helped to secure its passage. Gov. Schwarzenegger signed the bill in October, and the top dairy state in the nation became the first state to end this needless cruelty. The agriculture industry there deserves credit for stepping up and not being a bystander—or even worse, an opponent—as the major animal welfare issues in the industry are confronted.

But there is a circling of the wagons among so many other state and national livestock industry trade groups. As long as they stand in the way of morally obvious and science-based reforms, they will continue to be defined by their most deplorable actions. They may forestall legislative action for a while, but they will in the process turn off millions of American consumers who expect them to act responsibly. In the end, my guess is, they’ll not succeed in ultimately blocking legislative action that makes common sense.

It took our investigations into the abuse of downer cows to prompt the federal government to ban the slaughtering of crippled and sick adult cows unable to walk. The agribusiness industry fought us for 20 years on that issue, losing billions in the process and exposing consumers to life-threatening food safety risks. If you remember, a downer with Mad Cow Disease was processed for food in 2003 and then five years later, The HSUS exposed the abuse of spent downer cows at the Westland/Hallmark plant, prompting the largest meat recall in American history. And our latest investigation showing abuse of veal calves at a Vermont slaughter plant revealed a horrific end for these young male calves—some just days old—discarded by the dairy industry.

There seems to be so little leadership in the agriculture community on animal welfare. It is both baffling and inexcusable. It’s as if they do not care about the views of consumers or retailers, and they’ll just mistreat animals unless they are forced to stop. We’ll redouble our efforts to expose these abuses, and we are grateful that ABC News and Mercy for Animals shined a spotlight upon cruelty on the farm.

January 26, 2010

A Sportsman's Perspective on the Poisoning of Wildlife

America’s long war on predators and other native wildlife is one of the most shameful acts in our history. And also one of the most enduring.

Endangered black-footed ferret
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The endangered black-footed ferret.

Today, I’d like to draw attention to a man I admire and a story he’s done that exposes this scandalous national policy. The man is Ted Williams. He is, in a rare sense of the word, a “sportsman” who lives up to the highest ideals of that word. A fierce advocate for his beliefs, he and I often disagree on fundamental matters about animals. But we also often agree—because he is an uncommonly thoughtful person and he knows lunacy when he sees it.

He’s also a gifted writer. Ted writes for Audubon magazine, blogs for Fly Rod & Reel magazine and contributes to High Country News. In a recent piece, he goes in search of government efforts to save the harmless black-footed ferret, America's most endangered mammal. And he comes face-to-face with the harsh truth. Read for yourself, it’s a story as tragic as it is shocking.

January 25, 2010

Hurricane Katrina to Haiti: Dogs Survive Two Disasters

Since arriving in Haiti last Thursday evening, our veterinary response team continues to help animals affected by the earthquake, assessing animal needs and offering hands-on assistance. We’ve provided food for animals living in the streets, visited a local zoo to check on the welfare of the animals there, and conducted assessments of the situation with farm animals in areas outside of Port-au-Prince. We’ve also responded to doctors’ requests to help assess the humanitarian situation, and provided medical supplies to doctors working in Port-au-Prince. (You can follow along with our team’s latest efforts here.)

Humane Society International responder Dr. Rebecca Berg examines a horse in Haiti
Humane Society International
HSI responder Dr. Rebecca Berg in Haiti.

Perhaps because of its chronic poverty, Haiti does not have the level of pet-keeping seen in many other nations. We fortunately have not yet discovered or learned of large numbers of animals trapped in buildings and killed when these structures collapsed. The farm animals also seem to be in acceptable shape, and they, of course, are concentrated in the more rural areas, which were not at the epicenter of the earthquake. The stray population was substantial before the quake hit, and the health of these animals remains an ongoing concern. In the days ahead, we’ll be concentrating on providing feeding stations and water for the strays, and we’ll also work with government responders and humanitarian groups to handle situations properly when they come across animals in need or in distress. We were the first animal welfare organization to send a response team to Haiti, and we’re now assembling a second wave of veterinarians and disaster responders to make their way to the affected area. We plan on being deployed for weeks and to not divert our focus from this crisis.

Perhaps the most exciting news is also one of the most improbable and remarkable of stories.

A day after the earthquake struck we received an urgent plea for help from an American couple living in Port-au-Prince. They’d been forced to evacuate very quickly and were not able to bring along their two dogs. We explained that we were working to get responders into Haiti as soon as possible, and pledged that we would do everything we could to help once our team hit the ground.

Humane Society International responder Dr. Rebecca Berg with dogs Dieter and Bella in Haiti
Humane Society International
Dr. Berg with Dieter and Bella.

In talking further with the family, we discovered that they were the victims of two natural disasters, as were the dogs. The couple had lived in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and, when they returned home in the aftermath of the storm, found two dachshund mixes roaming the streets. They were moved to take the dogs in, and named them Bella and Dieter. These are the same two dogs who had to be left behind in Port-au-Prince.

Here’s the remarkable news: Our team has located the dogs. They are in good health and now in our safe keeping, having survived a Category 4 hurricane in 2005 and now a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in 2010. When we told the family that we had located the dogs, they were understandably overjoyed. With the help of our partnering organization, Veterinary Care and Human Services of the Dominican Republic, we’re transporting them to the Dominican Republic today. We intend to reunite them with their family as soon as possible.

It is remarkable that these dogs are on-the-ground survivors of the two biggest disasters in recent years in the western hemisphere. They are living embodiments of the principle that kindness and concerted action do make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable creatures. That’s one reason why we’ll continue to maintain boots on the ground in Haiti and to do all we can to help the animals and people of this stricken nation.

January 22, 2010

Lending a Helping Hand in Haiti

The images in the aftermath of a cataclysmic disaster like the one that struck Haiti last week are jarring, causing despair for even those somewhat hardened to suffering in the world. But there’s another side to the human psyche. Even in the worst of times, we search out for rays of light that break through the darkest clouds—in this case, stories of selflessness, survival, and even hopefulness that the long-term situation will improve. Even though we’ve witnessed major logistical hurdles that have impeded delivery of services to those in the greatest distress, let’s remind ourselves about the remarkable outpouring of action and concern by people and governments throughout the world for the people of Haiti. There is something remarkable in the generosity of the human spirit.

Hsi_team_arrives_in_haiti
Our veterinary response team is on the ground with a full trailer
load of veterinary supplies.

Now that the search for bodies in the rubble has essentially ended, it is fitting and appropriate to commence the deployment to help the animals in need. Today, a veterinary response team from Humane Society International (HSI) is in Haiti, traveling to Port-au-Prince with a full trailer load of veterinary supplies. The team includes a veterinarian, two veterinary technicians, an expert animal handler and paramedic, and a DR military escort for security. They’ll treat what animals they can, gather information on the plight of animals, coordinate with relief agencies, and lay the foundation for putting more assets into place, on the ground, where it counts. 

The barriers to deployment in Haiti were substantial, and getting reliable information about the situation for animals has been extraordinarily difficult, and that has made an already complex mission still more challenging. But now, with a strong assessment team on the ground, as well as other help on the way from a number of other organizations, including Veterinary Care and Human Services of the Dominican Republic and the groups working under the banner of Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti, we can do some good for the animals. And that’s the right and merciful thing. Through HSUS, HSI, and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, we’ve put together the resources to have a sustained impact.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. And when it comes to animals, like other poor nations, Haiti has lacked the most basic elements of a humane infrastructure. It has no humane society or veterinary school, and it has lacked the resources to provide training in the humane handling and care of animals through its educational and agricultural institutions.

That doesn’t mean that people in Haiti don’t care about animals, however, and I’m certain that our team will find citizens doing their best to provide care for animals in a dire situation, and grateful for the service and resources we can provide. We expect to find dogs, cats, chickens, goats, pigs, and other domestic animals in need, and we’ll do our best to support those who are trying to help them.

In prior instances of our disaster response, domestic or international, we’ve seen the recovery efforts eventually morph into longer-range infrastructure building for animals. That happened in Banda Aceh, after the tsunami struck there four years ago. I hope that the humane organizations that deploy to Haiti can begin to build capacity to promote spaying and neutering programs, vaccinations, animal handling training, construction of clinics, shelters, and emergency facilities, and even the building of a veterinary teaching facility. 

The task now is to help those in crisis, and we should be careful about looking too far ahead. But it is not too early to envision a better day for Haiti, a day where the basic needs of people and animals are met.

A mere 700 miles from our shores, Haiti seems a world away. The animals suffer there just like everywhere else, and it is our duty to help.

January 21, 2010

Talk Back: Haiti, Farm Animal Factories, Favorite Books

Many readers have inquired about the animal welfare situation in Haiti. Since the earthquake struck we’ve been working to determine how best to assist the animals and people affected by the disaster. Together with our global affiliate Humane Society International and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, The HSUS has assembled a team of trained veterinary experts to enter the capital city of Port-au-Prince today, and tomorrow I’ll have some news to report on that front. In the meantime, here are a few of your comments.

Our prayers are with you HSUS as you go and help and rescue our innocent animals, large or small. God Bless. —Ms. Dee
Thank you for helping animals. Nobody talks about them, nobody says anything about their situation, blesses for this. —Gloria
It would be great to set up a long-term fundraising plan for setting up the animal care infrastructure in Haiti. It doesn't address the immediate need, but will be a giant step forward as will be any. Regards. —RB

You also weighed in on my recent blog about the environmental and public health toll industrialized animal agriculture takes on local communities:

Thank you for using the term "animal factory" rather than "factory farm." I've never heard this term before and it resonated deeply with me just now upon reading your blog. There is nothing "farm-like" in these brutal places. As a writer and educator I appreciate the importance and power of words, and I will be using and propagating this term from now on. As a long time reader and supporter THANK YOU for all that you do. Here's to continued success in the new year. —Melinda MacInnis, Venice, Calif.
I am happy for these articles that expose how cruel factory farms are to humans as well to animals. Many people I know wouldn’t flinch regarding all the atrocities committed against animals. "They're only animals," they'd say. However, to also ignore the plight that their fellow neighbors suffer would be unconscionable. —Angel Ai
As a Farm Bureau member, I soon learned that Farm Bureau could care less about most of its members, preferring to look the other way on the regulations which should protect all members. They should change their name to the Industrial Livestock Farmers Organization because it is my opinion that is the element they prefer to protect and promote. The continually talk about ethics but fail to do anything other than talk about it. When will they put the farmer back into farming? Only when they are pressured to do so! —Mary Gibson

And finally, readers continue to react to my list of bookshelf favorites from last year, offering their own recommendations. Among your comments:

These entries on books were for sure some of your best, so I've put every single title I've read here on my list. I apologize for coming a bit late to the discussion, but I would like to add a few books I've found very rewarding and highly recommend. Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson has written “Dogs Never Lie About Love” and “When Elephants Weep.” Both books are about the rich emotional lives of animals and I think they're excellent. I just finished Susan Chernak McElroy's “Animals as Teachers and Healers” and I'm about to start her “Animals as Guides for the Soul.” These books are about the interaction between humans and animals, written with a great deal of respect for non-human creatures and why they are so important to us. All these books affected me deeply and emotionally, and I hope you and other readers of the blog will have a chance to enjoy them as I did. I so very much enjoy your blog, Wayne, and I look forward to reading every single entry when I log on. Thank you for the great work you do! —Victoria Rouse

Continue reading "Talk Back: Haiti, Farm Animal Factories, Favorite Books" »

January 20, 2010

Injuriousss: Proposal to Restrict Nine Invasive Snakes

Today, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar did the right thing. He announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will formally propose early next month the listing of nine large constricting snakes, including the Burmese python, the green anaconda, and the boa constrictor, as “injurious wildlife” under the Lacey Act, forbidding the interstate transport or import of the animals as pets. Once that proposal is published, there will be a 60-day comment period for members of the public, and then we hope final adoption of the rule will happen soon thereafter.

Burmese python in Florida's Everglades National Park
National Park Service
A Burmese python in Florida's Everglades National Park.

In his statement, Salazar focused on the ecological impact of the trade in these snakes, underscoring how Burmese pythons have colonized South Florida by the tens of thousands and this invasive species is now a dominant predator in the Everglades and surrounding land holdings. These snakes can threaten Florida panthers and a raft of other threatened and endangered species. Three months ago, the U.S. Geological Survey published a comprehensive survey and identified these nine species as high or moderate threats to the environment.

In addition to the ecological impacts, there are also compelling humane and public safety arguments. Last year, a two-year-old girl was strangled and killed by a pet Burmese python who escaped from his enclosure. There have been a string of other fatalities, with reticulated pythons involved in many incidents.

The trade is dangerous for people, but also for the snakes. Snakes may die during the capture and transport process. They may be housed inhumanely and mistreated by pet owners who have no idea what they are getting into when they obtain a snake that may grow to be 200 pounds, with the animals languishing in small aquariums or other inadequate enclosures. And all for what? You don’t take snakes for a walk or play with them in a field or let them sleep in your bed at night.

Wild animals belong in the wild, and in their native habitats. Kudos to Salazar and the other leaders at the Interior Department for taking this action. The Congress is considering similar legislation and we’ll work with House and Senate leaders to determine if final federal legislative action is also needed. We are particularly pleased with the determined leadership of Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to address this serious problem.

I’ll be updating you on the comment period, and I hope you’ll join me in letting the Department know we support this action. If you’d like to thank Secretary Salazar today, please email him to register your views.

January 19, 2010

Companies Make Progress for Farm Animals, Others Stall

Farm animal issues are getting more and more attention in the marketplace—and that's great news all the way around. The HSUS recently announced that we’ve been working with Compass Group—the world’s largest food service company—to launch the company’s “Be a Flexitarian” initiative, which encourages its vast customer base to eat more meatless meals and ensures that Compass’ 8,500 cafeterias worldwide have a variety of tasty vegetarian options available. In the same vein, Chipotle recently increased its vegetarian offerings by testing a delicious meat alternative in certain locations in D.C. and New York.

Ad for Compass' “Be a Flexitarian” initiative
Compass Group
An ad for Compass' “Flexitarian” initiative.

We also publicly praised Sonic—which has 3,500 fast food outlets nationwide—for beginning to phase-in eggs and pork from suppliers that don’t cram their animals into tiny cages and crates, as well as for pressuring its chicken suppliers to switch to a method of slaughter that causes significantly less suffering than the standard method. Similarly, The HSUS recently put our public campaign against IHOP on moratorium when the company agreed to start using some cage-free eggs in all of its 1,400 restaurants.

While companies like Compass Group, Sonic, and IHOP have taken steps to improve the lives of farm animals in the United States, other companies have refused to make progress. Last week, The HSUS was in the news for purchasing shares in two such companies: Jack in the Box and Steak ‘n Shake. Despite most of these companies’ top competitors—including Burger King, Denny’s, Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Quiznos and Red Robin (in addition to IHOP and Sonic)—having made animal improvements, Jack in the Box and Steak ‘n Shake remain stagnant on the issue. We’ll use our position as a stockholder to try and change that by attending the companies’ annual meetings and submitting shareholder resolutions calling on them to make changes. We also continue pressuring Waffle House and Bob Evans to make meaningful improvements for animals.

We’re also pressing ahead on the public policy front, but the decisions by corporations on food purchasing practices affect the lives of billions of animals raised for food. We’re conscious of that, and making the case for improved treatment to these corporate leaders.

January 15, 2010

Talk Back: Obstacles to Animal Protection

You know I hit a wide range of topics on the blog, previewing upcoming fights, analyzing the battles we are in, interpreting the issues of the day, framing the debate in society about animal issues, or calling out animal abusers who throw barbs at The HSUS. I always welcome your comments, and today I post some of your thoughts on a few subjects.

About the Missouri ballot initiative I introduced you to on Tuesday, aimed at cracking down on the state's puppy mill problem:

Kudos to you and the HSUS team on tackling the puppy mills in Missouri. We need you in Minnesota. —Jonathan Gilbert
I applaud the work of the HSUS... I support all your efforts and would like to also see a stop to the abuse of puppy mills in the U.S. and throughout the world. As a dog lover and owner I know that they are sensitive and loving creatures and they deserve our protection and caring. HSUS rocks! —Rich Bouchard
Thank you, Mr. Pacelle, for writing about this in your most recent blog. I read your blog and then read the hyperlinked Missourian article—the article itself was well written and said the facts of what needed to be done to stop puppy mills. I was thoroughly disgusted by the comments the people left, who live in that area, calling the HSUS, in simplest words, a sham, and one person even said that the HSUS will cause food prices to skyrocket. What nonsense! I am sickened and outraged by reading such ridiculousness and I wanted to say thank you, for all that you and your team do to help animals. I hope with all my heart that these new laws in Missouri are passed and I think with that should come education for the sickened individuals who believe puppy mills (and any other sorts of animal cruelty, for that matter) is a way of life. Thank you for all the work you and your team do to end animal cruelty. —Karen
I am disturbed that the AKC would work to oppose such legislation, which would impart nothing more than minimal and ordinary common sense standards to the dog breeding industry. It shows how little I and, I am certain, many others, really know about many of the large, "traditional" organized dog clubs. —Peter Hood
It is incredible to me that the AKC is opposed to the reforms. I had to re-read that to make sure that is what it said. This is from the AKC Mission Statement: "Founded in 1884, the AKC® and its affiliated organizations advocate for the purebred dog as a family companion, advance canine health and well-being, work to protect the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership." "Health and well-being" is clearly stated. I was amazed that they would oppose giving (at the very least) humane treatment to those poor dogs. Unbelievable. —Patricia Feurer

In response to my essay I posted Wednesday from our All Animals member magazine, outlining our strategy at The HSUS:

Thank you for mentioning all that the HSUS does with regard to factory farming, in terms of raising awareness of the horrible and inhumane treatment of animals, and lobbying Congress for changes to this deeply entrenched system. I also love, love, love how you are not afraid to take on the massive corporations that run factory farming in the U.S. It's really a David and Goliath story, as those corporations not only have billions of dollars, but close and dirty ties with many politicians. But speaking of David and Goliath, we know how that story turned out in the end, don't we! Keep up the great work. You are truly a change maker in our society. —Bonnie Shulman, Toronto, Canada
I like the way you don't mince words. Please let us know more about the groups that oppose HSUS's work. I want to carry the word to those who submit to anti-HSUS nonsense and I'd be more effective knowing who and what those group's causes are in particular. Thanks for leading the fight to make this a more humane world for our animal cousins. —Arden Allen

And about the Center for Consumer Freedom, a corporate front group and enemy of animal protection that tries to distort The HSUS's direct care activities (which I recently inventoried on the blog):

I first became acquainted with the activities of the Center for Consumer Freedom lobbying group in my profession as an M.D. CCF has also lobbied for the tobacco industries, and has smeared and vilified public health professionals and groups in the same ways they try to smear HSUS. —Rena
It's a shame the HSUS has to spend any time at all defending itself against attacks by industry front groups and other anti-animal organizations. But since perception is reality, that's unfortunately a legitimate part of your agenda. Says a lot about our uneducated world though that people buy into those groups' rhetoric. Wish more people had critical thinking skills and could connect the dots on their own. —Michelle Ognjanovic
One look at CCF reveals it to be conservative astroturf with no true popular support. The HSUS is a model organization in so many ways; not just because of the exemplary and courageous way you carry out your mission, but because of the way you communicate with your many supporters, who are so proud to be a small part of this crucial work. We will never give up trying to make the world a better, safer place for animals. Thank you, Wayne. —Tai